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45 MIN READ TIME

A Resilient Spirit

Vitalina Koval is made of strong stuff As a visible and vocal human rights activist in her home town of Uzhgorod, she has to be. The country has a large percentage of conservative and homophobic politicians in government, while Russia, with its gay propaganda law, and the rise of the far right in neighbouring Poland and Hungary exert strong influences.

For most LGBT+ people, their decision to ‘come out’ is usually accompanied by trepidation – a fear of not being accepted. Tie that with a genuine fear for your own safety, indeed your own life, and you can imagine what a brave decision it was to live openly in Uzhgorod. Vitalina says, “When was 25, decided to come out to my family. For me it was a powerful decision because I’d been struggling to do it since was a teenager. I had tried to do it a few times but there was a very homophobic response and had a lot of emotional problems after that. I want to be open, honest, who am. It awakened my human rights activism. I started organising queer parties in my town. Of course, they were hidden parties. From this background knew almost all active LGBT+ people in our town. A year after, in 2016, one of the biggest LGBT+ organisations in Ukraine came to our town to discuss if we were interested in opening a community centre. We decided could be a good coordinator.”

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Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
Welcome, dear reader, to an issue where, amongst other things,
Community
By Adam Long, Advocacy And Communications, NXF.
Here, two activists from diferent generations speak of how the LGBT+ community has a vital role to play in the ight for climate justice
On May 1, GCN will team up with Extinction Rebellion Ireland (XR) for ‘Mayday: The Fight To Save Our World’ - a night of information, conversation and action on climate change. Here Oana Marion speaks about her own journey with XR
A book by Angela Doyle, about the relationship between two women in the west of Ireland in the ‘90s, is soon to receive a reading in Books Upstairs. The novel’s journey to being published is a story in itself
Winners of the Best Voluntary Group at the 2017 Gala awards, the fine folk at LOOK have been providing invaluable support to the families and friends of LGBT+ people for years. Here we highlight some of the incredible team and ind out why they do what they do
ACT UP
ACT UP Dublin member Noel Donnellon looks at the origins of the direct action movement and its impact across the globe
Opinion
Ten years ago it was hard to picture a mainstream reality show getting drag right or even centring drag in a way that wasn’t a joke, yet the continued rise of RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a roaring success. But as we enter into a new decade of the show, is it possible we’ve reached peak Drag Race?
Conversation
With the opening of an intriguing and startling new exhibition in IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art). Seán Kissane, the exhibition’s curator, speaks to one of the featured artists, Brian Teeling, about his own contributions to the show. All images by Brian Teeling
Feature
If we’re being honest, there’s nothing most people like more than a bit of drama, so with that in mind could there be anything more anticipated than this year’s International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival? With such a global glut of talent on ofer Peter Dunne speaks to some of the teams coming from across the world to bring their shows to Ireland
While the fight against climate change can seem overwhelming, making a relatively small change in your life can have an effect. As the centrepiece of this issue, we speak to people who made achievable changes in order to make our planet a better place
Current reigning Mr Gay Ireland, Guilherme Souza, speaks as a survivor of abuse about finding the strength within to move forward
Speaking to Lamin, an asylum seeker directly affected, Chris O’Donnell looks at how the housing crisis hits people exiting the Direct Provision system
Ranae von Meding and her wife, Audrey, live in Dublin. They have two daughters, Ava and Arya, conceived through Reciprocal IVF. Ranae is a blogger and campaigns for same-sex parental rights. Here she speaks about the difering situations for same-sex parents worldwide
Gunner Eye Fidelma McKenna has lovely blue eyes. One blew north and one blew south
Community Chest
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Adam Shanley has joined HIV Ireland in the newly created
In huge news for the Irish LGBT+ sporting community, Dublin